This Saturday the Woldsmen travelled to New Hey Road, the home of Huddersfield Y.M.C.A. This is yet another of those fixtures where Driffield generally suffer on the away leg and were hoping to put that right this term. Form so far favoured Driffield, with Huddersfield lying in eleventh spot; with Driffield in fifth.
Changes from last week saw Furbank out injured and Dench returning after unavailability. Borman, Dervey and Watts occupied the bench. Early exchanges went fairly evenly, with Driffield backs looking particularly sharp. After five minutes swift movement down the left put Piercy in space and his well-timed pass put Robinson away. He put on the after-burners, and was able to score under the posts, which Dearing converted. DRIFFIELD 7 – HUDDERSFIELD 0
So a great start for the large numbers of travelling Driffield supporters. Early signs showed a powerful Huddersfield scrum who put Driffield on the back foot on their put-in, but Burns and Gray are adept at clearing up, and producing good ball. Driffield have generally had the edge on fitness this term but today it was evident that Huddersfield could match them about the field. They have a very mobile back row, who contest everything. After twelve minutes Dinsdale charged down a kick on the ten metre line and somehow managed to cling onto the ball in its flight. He cleverly slipped the ball to Burns who made some ground but Huddersfield were soon able to rally their defence. A short while later, Burns showed his skills with a great turnover on the Driffield twenty-two to relieve Huddersfield pressure. Driffield held the upper hand and on twenty minutes Dinsdale, always looking sharp, made a good break down the left, handed onto Cooper who off-loaded to Gray. Stephenson ran a smart line and scored. The conversion was missed. DRIFFIELD 12 – HUDDERSFIELD 0
Gray had to be replaced a short while later with a wrist injury, with Robinson taking over at scrum-half. There was then a good burst by the Huddersfield centre and only a great stop by Dinsdale brought him down. Driffield defence was sound with both Mewburn brothers in good form. Driffield ran the ball left and Piercy and Stephenson made some space. There was a good inside ball to Lawrence and only a good Huddersfield rearguard action stopped him. On the stroke of half-time, Driffield were awarded a penalty in front of the posts and Dearing obliged with the conversion.
Half-Time DRIFFIELD15 – HUDDERSFIELD 0
Dervey came on at prop for Zavatti at the break. Gray was still off injured during the early part of the second half and his absence was noticeable. His sniping bursts and constant harassing keep defences honest and he constantly drives his pack. A few inaccuracies were creeping in. The line-outs became a bit hit and miss, and all of a sudden Huddersfield burst back into the game. Their powerful midfield backs had appeared dormant in the first half, but they were definitely coming to life this half. Their pack made some ground down the left, the ball went quickly to their left wing Bullock who sped over for the try, which was converted. DRIFFIELD 15 – HUDDERSFIELD 7
A short while later a Driffield tackler failed to roll away in the tackle; the resultant penalty was converted. DRIFFIELD 15 – HUDDERSFIELD 10
On fifty minutes Borman came on for Cooper. The Driffield pack had definitely gone quiet with Huddersfield taking the edge. They moved the ball down the right and some smart off-loading and perhaps some indifferent tackles allowed their centre in for a good try. This again was converted. DRIFFIELD 15 – HUDDERSFIELD 17
Gray was being missed and he was re-introduced. The pack started to compete again but Driffield were hemmed into their own half. On seventy minutes a good Huddersfield break led to their winger going over for an unconverted try. DRIFFIELD 15 – HUDDERSFIELD 22
Driffield supporters could not believe the turnaround in the game. After a bright first half their team had lost control and were struggling. It was definitely a game of two halves. There was another powerful break from their centre but Stephenson brought off a trademark stopper. He and Piercy had played well and a short while later Stephenson brought Driffield back from the dead. Dearing had the ball on the Huddersfield twenty two, spotted a gap and threaded a deft grubber through; Stephenson sped through and dotted down. Dearing added the extras. DRIFFIELD 22 – HUDDERSFIELD 22
Driffield supporters were prepared to leave it at that, but the team contrived to make a mess of the restart kick-off. This lead to a penalty against Driffield in front of their posts. This was duly converted.
FINAL SCORE : DRIFFIELD 22 – HUDDERSFIELD YMCA 25
So a frustrating day at the office for Driffield. Some very good work, mixed with some that needs development. The game showed that form is not always an accurate guide. After a good start, Driffield faded. A large part of this was due to a spectacular revival from Huddersfield. They are a very fit side and have a powerful centre pairing who always threaten, ball in hand. When Driffield managed to deprive them of the ball in the first half, they looked like winners. Driffield face a tough home derby game against Malton next week. That in itself is all the tonic they should need, plus Gray on the field for eighty minutes will definitely help.